Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine Pagels

By Elaine Pagels

In Beyond Belief, well known faith student Elaine Pagels maintains her groundbreaking exam of the earliest Christian texts, arguing for an ongoing overview of religion and a wondering of non secular orthodoxy.

Spurred on by way of own tragedy and new scholarship from a global staff of researchers, Pagels returns to her research of the “secret” Gospel of Thomas, and breathes new existence into writings as soon as concept heretical. As she arrives at an ever-deeper conviction in her personal religion, Pagels unearths how religion permits a range of interpretations, and that the “rogue” voices of Christianity inspire and maintain “the reputation of the sunshine inside us all.”

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Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld (New York: Ballantine Books, 1995), has many fine insights, but does not seem to me finally to come to terms with the legitimacy of the distaste for democracy found in religious and tribal fundamentalism, and liberal democracy’s role in generating such distaste. Although Barber’s views are often very realistic, his hopes for “global democracy” seem to me unreasonably optimistic. 109. ” 110. Charles Taylor, A Catholic Modernity? Charles Taylor’s Marianist Award Lecture, ed.

Jurgen Habermas, “A Time of Transition,” quoted in Neuhaus, “While We’re At It,” FT 152 (April 2005): 69. The question of the place of Christianity in European definition is very complicated. At one pole we have the views of Christopher Dawson, at another Lester K. Little, “Cypress Beams, Kufic Script, and Cut Stone: Rebuilding the Master Narrative of European History,” Sp 79 (2004): 909–928, esp. 919–20. 137. ” SLT, October 23, 2003. 138. “Israel: The Alternative,” NYRB 50, 16 (October 23, 2003): 8–10 at 10.

112 But at what cost? ” The deep cleavage between the United States and what the second Bush administration called “Old Europe” in the events leading up to the second Gulf War, in 2003, has been characterized by Robert Kagan as a struggle between a Kantian Europe and an imperial America. There is some truth in this. 114 On the side of the latter (“American”) view, we perhaps have not so much one single position as a widespread suspicion that a universal order built on rights, law, and perpetual peace is beyond human attainment (the uneasy juxtaposition of the notion that American power can be used to “build nations” with the practice of realpolitik indicates that we do not really have one American position, or that the “official” position is deeply contradictory).

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